Baa baa black sheep, have you any salt?
August 9, 2019 9:18 AM   Subscribe

My sister just sent me these awesome sheep salt and pepper shakers. One is cream colored and the other is a dark greyish mushroom brown. Here’s my dilemma - the dark sheep has five holes, and the light sheep has 3. Help me - do I put salt in the dark sheep because holes? Or pepper in the dark sheep because duh? This is seriously breaking my brain.
posted by Mchelly to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I would have thought dark for pepper, cream-coloured for salt? I will be interested to know if others disagree...
posted by unicorn chaser at 9:19 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]

I think the reason for fewer holes in the light sheep is because it's easy to over-salt without realizing it because salt is less visible than pepper. So, the fewer holes makes putting more salt on a deliberate decision.

What an adorable set!
posted by past unusual at 9:22 AM on August 9 [17 favorites]

Oh hey, I have those nodding skull shakers from that link!

I think if you put salt in the dark sheep and pepper in the white sheep you will wind up with an unpleasantly surprised guest some day.
posted by ejs at 9:38 AM on August 9 [6 favorites]

Mr. eirias has a firm belief that the pepper shaker should have more holes because pepper tends to come out more slowly, whereas table salt can come out faster than you intend. (Mr. eirias is also the person who will never say “when” to the waiter with the pepper grinder, though, so YMMV.)
posted by eirias at 9:41 AM on August 9 [7 favorites]

Once you do dark for pepper and light for salt, try it out and see if you are getting an appropriate amount coming out. You might look for a coarser grain pepper if you are getting too much or a finer salt if you are having to shake too much with the salt shaker.
posted by metahawk at 9:43 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]

Those are AMAZING!! I love them.

I would personally go with dark for pepper, light for salt. If I were a mealtime visitor to your house, that's where I think the salt and pepper would be.
posted by Gray Duck at 9:52 AM on August 9 [3 favorites]

I agree the darker sheep should mean pepper.
Though personally I would display them as art and continue using salt and pepper grinders. :)
posted by Glinn at 10:05 AM on August 9

Even the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum says "you do you."
posted by teremala at 10:08 AM on August 9

do I put salt in the dark sheep because holes?

If you want to prank every person who ever eats at your house, then yes. Otherwise no.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:30 AM on August 9 [7 favorites]

If you’re asking which would a guest intuitively reach for if they wanted salt vs. If they wanted pepper—I’d automatically grab the light one for salt and the dark for pepper.

These are very cute by the way!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:34 AM on August 9

If you want to prank every person* who ever eats at your house, then yes. Otherwise no.

*except all of those who have been fooled before and always sprinkle some into their hand before putting any on their food.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:46 AM on August 9 [3 favorites]

This seems to me like a possible flaw in the design, since salt shakers generally have more holes and most people will assume the darker color is for pepper. However, I doubt the number of holes really makes that much difference in using them, so I would use the lighter one for salt.
(I'm assuming you would have said something if one piece had much larger holes.)
posted by FencingGal at 10:55 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]

I am Canadian, and always thought that more holes = salt. It's the other way around for my British in-laws (more holes = pepper). We assumed this was a North American/European difference. But the museum says that the American way is fewer holes = salt. So now I'm just confused.

Colour matching is much, much less confusing. Also, maybe your sheep (like so many sheep in the world) are British. Or health conscious.
posted by jb at 11:09 AM on August 9 [3 favorites]

Chiming in to confirm that in the UK, salt shakers have one hole, pepper shakers have many. Those are obviously Kerry Hill sheep, from Wales, and so the darker, holier one is for the pepper.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 3:23 PM on August 9 [3 favorites]

White pepper in the lighter one
Dark pepper in the darker one
Salt in some other delivery device
posted by kokaku at 3:44 PM on August 9 [4 favorites]

Put the salt in the black one. When you have a surprised/annoyed guest (and you will), you can just put it down to the shaker being the black sheep of the family.

(Don't. Put it in the white one)
posted by Jon Mitchell at 4:52 PM on August 9 [3 favorites]

I use pepper grinders, so I would put salt in both of them, pairing with a proper grinder at the table.
posted by theora55 at 6:40 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]

From the US; I would also assume light sheep = salt, dark sheep = pepper, regardless of hole count. Honestly surprised that people would look at the hole count instead of the obvious color cues.
(I'm also the sort that prefers having a pepper grinder over a shaker, but you do you.)
posted by Aleyn at 3:41 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]

Can't argue with the experts - thanks everyone!
posted by Mchelly at 6:06 PM on August 10 [1 favorite]

Match the colors. Otherwise your guests will be angry at you.
posted by oceanjesse at 11:58 AM on August 11

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